According to Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR), CIOs no longer run tidy, self-contained operations: They manage ecosystems that are created by the competing influence of business stakeholders, end users, customers, and technology suppliers. More than 400 business and technology senior professionals at Forrester’s Technology Leadership Forum, which concluded yesterday at The Phoenician in Scottsdale, Ariz., learned that success in today’s world requires balancing and benefiting from the unique relationships within a complex ecosystem.

Industry and technology leaders and Forrester analysts provided attendees with insight on how to best work with each group in the ecosystem — influencers, producers, and consumers:

  • Influencers. The intense focus on business outcomes instead of technology inputs has blurred the lines between technology and “the business.” Forrester’s research shows that two-thirds of CIOs describe IT strategy as more influenced by business leaders outside of IT than it was two years ago. Keynote speeches from Dr. Raymond E. Gogel, Xcel Energy; Nandan M. Nilekani, Infosys Technologies; and Bob Suh, Accenture focused on how to manage this growing influence.
  • Producers. The role and makeup of vendors in the ecosystem will change as they consolidate and search for new means of differentiation. Forrester also sees pressure coming from new sources of commoditization — service-oriented architecture, software-as-a-service, outsourcing, and open source. Executives at two of the largest software vendors — Steven A. Mills, IBM, and Zia Yusuf, SAP AG — discussed their respective roles in the changing landscape. A panel led by Forrester analyst Paul Roehrig, Ph.D., and executives from ABN AMRO, General Motors, and Motorola discussed how to balance the risks and rewards of a multisourced environment.
  • Consumers. Sixty-six percent of executives who influence IT spending are not satisfied with IT support for their company’s acquisition and retention of end customers. At the same time, companies are expanding their search for technology-enabled innovation to include input from end users and customers. Attendees heard related best practices from Shaygan Kheradpir, Verizon’s CIO, and Mohanbir S. Sawhney, McCormick Tribune Foundation Professor of Technology, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University.

Attendees also gained information on the critical technologies and business practices for managing today’s complex IT environments through peer networking, one-on-one sessions with Forrester analysts, and a technology showcase where 16 sponsors shared their solutions.

Leading up to the Technology Leadership Forum, nearly 150 members of select Forrester Leadership Boards also met at The Phoenician. They attended exclusive sessions hosted by the CIO Group, three IT Councils, the Analyst Relations Council, and the Technology Marketing Executive Council. More information on Forrester Leadership Boards is available at: